Paper models, photos and musings of a Paper Kosmonaut

15 March 2013

MER-A Spirit - first part: Delta II 1/96

Spirit always hits me in this soft spot I have. The animist in me always causes a little lump in my throat when I think of that little six wheeler stuck in the loose sand, frozen, never seeing his makers again. (it's all because of that xkcd-comic I once linked here already)
I thought it was time to make a little homage to Spirit. A two-part homage, actually. It started with me wanting to add another rocket to the collection and deciding on the Delta II, NASA's long time workhorse. Now the choice for Spirit was easy.
Dutch designer Erik te Groen made a nice 1/72 model of the launcher but I reduced it in size to match the rest of the rockets. It is labeled "super detailed" and I thought this also was easily doable in a smaller size. It is, actually.
I am almost done, but I haven't finished yet. Here's the work so far.

This model has been printed on silk gloss photo paper. It looks great, just like the gloss version, it just is a little less shiny and in my eyes a little more realistic, in that sense. It has one big disadvantage, though: it sucks at being glued. White glue is good but only for the parts that do not have any tension. For cylindrical and conical shapes you almost are obliged to use CA glue. 
Before I actually glue a cylinder, I always roll it up into a smaller cylindrical shape and let it rest for a night or so. This way the paper is better shaped when I actually glue the sides together.
The rest of the story after the jump.

 The payload fairing is nicely detailed with printed-on stringers. I decided to actually make all the individual stringers ( 56 or so) to add even more realism. It was a little tedious...

 ...but the result looks quite good, if I may say so. I also added the small access doors in the fairing. They were made from very thin glossy paper.

 The core stage was ready to glue after a night of being rolled upness. It wasn't really easy, I have to say. I first had joined some of the parts to make bigger ones, with fewer seams as a result. In the end I actually made the core stage out of more smaller parts. Inside there is a cylinder of blue paper tightly rolled and pushing against the outer skin. The outer parts were shover over this inner cylinder and glued in place. This inner cylinder just gives more strength to the entire body, together with the reinforcing rings inside it. The inner cylinder also prevents these rings from buckling the outer parts. 
Note the silky gloss effect on the hull. Hmmmmm. Nice.

 This is the finished payload fairing of the Delta II. Note the silk shine in the lower part. Hmmm. Nice.

 One of the nine solid rocket motors that are located around the base of the rocket's core. I have made a little tutorial on how to easily roll those cones. It's in a new section you'll find in the info bar on the right under "pages".
 The SRM's are all attached in a specific order, and held inside these clamps.

The cable run along the entire length of the rocket. A bulging part was designed of three gradually smaller layers of paper with a covering longer one over the top to cover them. The sides still looked quite jagged. So I also made the two sides of the bulge to cover the layers of paper.
It looks a lot smoother this way.
 his is at the middle of the core stage, it marks the place between the oxidizer and the oxygen tank. It also was detailed with stringers and two access doors.

 The bottom end of the payload fairing. Underneath you' d find a small solid rocket kick motor and the capsule in which Spirit was making its journey to Mars, upside down, folded up and covered in a still deflated cluster of balloons, which would inflate when the parachute dropped the lander on the surface.

Two pictures of the engine section: The engine bell is made from metallic paper which I gave a wash with thinned anthracite paint. I added thin strips of aluminium sticky tape as coolant rings around the bell. The struts of the turbine exhaust in front of it are sewing pins.

The inside of the engine bell is nicely detailed. on both sides you can see the vernier engines. These engines are movable and used for steering the rocket. 

Okay, this was the build up until today. Next time the final result of the Delta rocket.

Thanks for watching!
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